It's no secret that Monster Cable is a notorious abuser of intellectual property laws
often just to try to get any other company using "Monster" anywhere in its name to pay up. Of course, it's normally trademark law that it abuses. However, it looks like it may be abusing copyright law as well. Reader Archbishop pointed us to the news that the website Jaxed, which is a meta-classifieds search engine (it searches Craigslist, eBay and a few other sites via a single interface) recently had its entire site taken down
after Monster Cable filed a DMCA notice against the site.
On Nov 2 2010 Monster Cable filed a DMCA copyright infringement notice to jaXed.com for "infringing" on Monster Cable Products copyrights. For unknown reasons, Monster Cable is upset that images of their products appeared on jaXed.com in classified and auction listings.
On Nov 4 2010 GoDaddy.com has taken down jaXed.com due to this complaint.
We will be working to bring the site back up as soon as we can.
Jaxed is back online now, saying that they removed the ability to do searches in the Electronics category. They're not entirely sure if that was the problem, because the takedown does not say, but the company believes that it has something to do with the fact that some of the searches in that category showed Monster Cable products. Of course, it's difficult to see how this was an infringement in any way, shape or form. First, the actual content was posted to other sites (Craigslist, eBay, etc.). Jaxed is just a search engine. Second, even if the content were on Jaxed, it's people selling their products -- which is unlikely to be a copyright violation (yes, it's possible if they were using official photos there may be a slight issue, but hardly one worth issuing a DMCA takedown over). Jaxed suggests that Monster wanted it to police the site for counterfeit offerings, but as various cases against eBay over counterfeit goods have shown, the auction sites are not liable
for any counterfeit goods listed directly. And it seems like an even further stretch to then say a search engine would be liable when the auction site itself is not.
Of course, even more disturbing is the fact that GoDaddy, the registrar for Jaxed, immediately pulled down the entire Jaxed site, over what seems like a clearly bogus DMCA notice. You would hope that a company like GoDaddy wouldn't be quite so quick to pull the trigger. It's also pretty weak that Monster Cable apparently went straight to GoDaddy, rather than complaining to Jaxed first (at which point, Jaxed could explain that they were just a search engine). Unfortunately, we've been seeing more and more examples of companies going straight to domain registrars with their takedown notices.
It's not clear if Jaxed is fighting back against this, but the situation seems so ridiculous, that I'd imagine there are plenty of lawyers who would be interested in helping the site explain to Monster Cable that this is an abuse of the DMCA process.